Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 19

19. With Quality we have undertaken to group the dependent qualia, in so far as Quality is bound up with them; we shall not however introduce into this category the qualified objects [qua objects], that we may not be dealing with two categories at once; we shall pass over the objects to that which gives them their [specific] name.

But how are we to classify such terms as "not white"? If "not white" signifies some other colour, it is a quality. But if it is merely a negation of an enumeration of things not white, it will be either a meaningless sound, or else a name or definition of something actual: if a sound, it is a kind of motion; if a name or definition, it is a relative, inasmuch as names and definitions are significant. But if not only the things enumerated are in some one genus, but also the propositions and terms in question must be each of them significative of some genus, then we shall assert that negative propositions and terms posit certain things within a restricted field and deny others. Perhaps, however, it would be better, in view of their composite nature, not to include the negations in the same genus as the affirmations.

What view, then, shall we take of privations? If they are privations of qualities, they will themselves be qualities: "toothless" and "blind," for example, are qualities. "Naked" and "dothed," on the other hand, are neither of them qualities but states: they therefore comport a relation to something else.

[With regard to passive qualities:]

Passivity, while it lasts, is not a quality but a motion; when it is a past experience remaining in one's possession, it is a quality; if one ceases to possess the experience then regarded as a finished occurrence, one is considered to have been moved- in other words, to have been in Motion. But in none of these cases is it necessary to conceive of anything but Motion; the idea of time should be excluded; even present time has no right to be introduced.

"Well" and similar adverbial expressions are to be referred to the single generic notion [of Quality].

It remains to consider whether blushing should be referred to Quality, even though the person blushing is not included in this category. The fact of becoming flushed is rightly not referred to Quality; for it involves passivity- in short, Motion. But if one has ceased to become flushed and is actually red, this is surely a case of Quality, which is independent of time. How indeed are we to define Quality but by the aspect which a substance presents? By predicating of a man redness, we clearly ascribe to him a quality.

We shall accordingly maintain that states alone, and not dispositions, constitute qualities: thus, "hot" is a quality but not "growing hot," "ill" but not "turning ill."

Next: Section 20